Enforcement of Maintenance Order Singapore- Maintenance Record Officer Scheme (MRO)

Every month, I receive many questions on enforcement of maintenance order Singapore.

An order on maintenance may be obtained:

  1. By consent (before seeing a lawyer);
  2. By consent (through negotiations between lawyers);
  3. By consent (after mediation); or
  4. After a legal battle in Court (Ancillary Matters hearing).

Maintenance may be awarded to wives (if divorce does not take place), ex-wives (after the divorce) and/ or children.

Some of my clients face difficulties in obtaining maintenance from their spouse even with an order.

Enforcement of Maintenance Order Singapore

How do you go about doing this? You need to proceed to the Family Justice Courts with a certified true copy of your Maintenance Order along with other supporting documents (such as your NRIC, marriage certificate (if you are still married) and/ or the child’s birth certificate) and make an application for enforcement of maintenance order Singapore.

You are likely to proceed to counselling. If matters can be resolved amicably, the Court can record an order the terms of settlement.

Otherwise, the matter will proceed to trial and be decided by the Court.

New Initiative- Maintenance Record Officer (MRO) Scheme

The Maintenance Record Officer (MRO) Scheme will be put in place to assist the Courts in “getting information about the individuals’ financial circumstances” and to “identify those in financial hardship from the first time they file an enforcement application”. In such cases, assistance can be provided much earlier, without waiting for multiple applications to be filed.

Those who refused to pay will also be identified and Courts may impose more severe penalties on recalcitrant defaulters.

Presently, cases may be referred to the maintenance record officer if both parties agree to it and both parties are able to decide what information to declare. However, the Government is looking at including the MRO scheme as part of the Court process.

On average, 2,777 applications for enforcement orders were filed per year from 2014 to 2016. Approximately 72% were filed by ex-wives.

See: Theresa Tan, “Not getting maintenance? Ex-spouses to get help earlier”, The Straits Times, 15 July 2017

For more information on enforcement of maintenance order Singapore, contact us today!

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